When journalists and consumers are trying to figure out where and how a product is made and where it has travelled from production country to the store, the journey is often packed with obstacles. In a global market, products change hands a number of times before reaching the shelves in the stores.
Since 2007, Danwatch has been gathering large amounts of data on the impacts of companies producing everything from food, textile and IT to extraction of rare minerals used in makeup. Data, which should be accessible to consumers and other journalists who can contribute with additional knowledge. This was the idea in Danwatch’s application for Google Digital News Initiative in January this year, which is now possible to realize with this grant.
Transparency and access to data are key elements for both Google Digital News Initiative and Danwatch as an independent media and research center, says CEO of Danwatch, Jesper Nymark:
”We are proud to be part of Google’s Digital News Initiative which aims to support high quality digital journalism as well as innovative journalism. It is apparent that a cooperation with Digital News Initiative opens new possibilities for Danwatch’s journalism”.
The supply chain for companies’ products can have significant impacts on human rights, workers rights and the environment – in both positive and negative ways.
Today, products can be made in China, traded through Switzerland, shipped to USA and sold in California and it is highly difficult for consumers to know whether a product is sustainable.
Danwatch has specialized in mapping and documenting trade flows and value chains but even for experienced journalists, these processes are complex and time consuming.
“As the complexity of trade flows for products is rising we experience an increasing need for more transparency, which will hopefully motivate demands for sustainable production. This is what Open Supply Chain is supposed to foster”, says Jesper Nymark.